Should the Jewish state allow same-sex families to adopt children?

Does a democratic Jewish state have to allow single gender families to adopt children?

Tags: adoption LGBT
Dr. Chaim Charles Cohen

Judaism Adoption

Should a democratic, Jewish state allow single gender families to adopt children?

Should a single gender couple receive governmental support and approval to adopt and raise children in a democratic, Jewish state?  This philosophically significant question is now before the Israeli Supreme Court.

This article will argue that that only two-gender families should receive governmental license and support for the adoption and the raising of children. It will explain why this policy is consistent with a conservative definition of a democratic, Jewish state. The Israeli Declaration of Independence makes it incumbent upon us to cope with social policy dilemmas (such as a adoption) in a way that is consistent with both our Jewish social-moral heritage, and with the democratic process.

A conservative political philosophical understanding of democracy

 Conservative political philosophy argues that a nation and its representative government have an obligation to distinguish between the political legitimacy of particular social ways of life, and the obligation to respect the equal rights to privacy of all ways of life. This means that a nation has an obligation to prioritize the legitimacy of ways of life that it believes will further the national interest, and to provide governmental support that will promote these ways of life. At the same time, the government must respect and protect (decriminalize, and prevent persecution) the right of practitioners of all ways of life to practice their way of life in the privacy of their private, individual domain.

Applying  this distinction between ‘granting political legitimacy’ and ‘respecting and protecting individual privacy’  to the question of the adoption of children in a democratic, Jewish state, we would argue that the Israeli government has the political right to argue that only two-gender families should be recognized as being politically legitimate in a Jewish state.

The government is correct to argue that two-gender families best further the Jewish interests of the state because : One,  two gender families are in accord with the two thousand year old moral, Jewish heritage concerning the legal definition of a ‘family’. Two, two gender families are best equipped to further the national and security interests of increasing the demography of the Jewish people in our ongoing battle for national survival. Three,  almost social science research ( done outside the hegemony of politically correct, academic  liberalism) shows that the most healthy, nurturing psychological environment for child development is for children to spend the first 18 years of their life with two-gender,  biological parents in a emotionally and financially secure family environment.    

At the same time, the individual privacy of single gender couples should be fully respected.  For example, the government should not prohibit a single gender couple from raising children (possibly from a previous marriage of one of the partners) in the privacy of their own home. The legal guardianship of one of the partners should be recognized. What a single gender couple does in its own house is its own business, and entitled to state protection.   However, a newly formed single gender couple should not be allowed to legally allowed to adopt children in their own right, because in a democratic, Jewish state. single gender couples should not be legally recognized  and promoted as a  family unit.

American constitutional law supports this distinction between political legitimacy and individual privacy    

My distinction between ‘political legitimacy’ and ‘individual privacy’ is taken straight from the constitutional history of America with regard to the practicing of religion. The constitutional history of America holds that local, state and federal governmental bodies are allowed to give political legitimacy (fund, support, and promote) ONLY to a secular, G-d neutral, way of life and social world view. It is illegal and politically illegitimate for any governmental body to support  or fund an agency that is expounding a way of life and social world view in which G-d and his moral laws are central tenets.

Post modern moral relativism does not grant our two thousand year Jewish moral heritage  any more political legitimacy than the legitimacy of the current,  twenty year political activism of the multi-gender, sexual identity movement.
The American constitution has been interpreted to hold that G-d neutral, secularism best promotes the national interests of America, because it is a doctrine that encourages a ‘neutral, political playing field, and thus allows a wide diversity of ways of life to equally compete on the playing field. Also, it promotes America’s national interest by removing religion as a divisive force in civil life. Of course, in the domain of individual privacy, religious citizens can build their own educational and religious institutions with their own funds. Of course, the private practice of religious life is not criminalized, as it is in non-liberal democracies such as communist and Islamic states 

This American constitutional perspective exactly parallels our argument concerning the illegitimate status of one gender couple adoption.    Just as the American constitution says that only secularism is politically legitimate in public life, and that religion must be banished to the private, individual realm, we are advocating that only  two gender based  family adoptions are politically legitimate, and only they deserve government support, and the life of one gender couples will be conducted only in non-oppressive, private, individual domain(as is the status of religious practice and institutions in America).

To prevent moral nihilism and national self destruction a democratic, Jewish government must define which ways of life are more politically legitimate than others.

Politically correct liberalism accepts the post modern social philosophy tenet  that political man is  not capable of defining absolute laws of civil morality . Thus all ways of life are equally morally acceptable, and politically legitimate, as long as they are based on the non-coerced consent of the participant, and as long as they do not result in the physical harming or blatant oppression of a member of a competing way of life. Thus politically correct liberalism would argue that one gender couples should be held on an equal status with regard to adoption as two gender families. Post modern moral relativism does not grant our two thousand year Jewish moral heritage  any more political legitimacy than the legitimacy of the current,  twenty year political activism of the multi-gender, sexual identity movement (LGBT).  

We cannot risk the further development and security of the Jewish state (that we have miraculously received) by conducting social experiments based on  the recently arrived post modern moral relativism. An unopposed post modern relativism (with its emphasis on universalism , agnostic humanism, and self centered, multi gendered life styles)  will inevitably lead to the erosion of our two thousand year Jewish heritage of proud Jewish nationalism,  multi –generational, two gender familyhood, and G-d base communal life.


It is imperative that we take a conservative approach to social change, and oppose the social experimentation involved in one gender adoption. A responsible Israeli government should grant political legitimacy only to two gender family adoptions, while democratically respecting the private lives of one gender couples in the individual (non-public) domain. This approach parallels the democratic principles of the American constitutional history regarding the role of religion in the public realm, ie. religious practice is delegated in America to the private individual realm, and cannot receive political legitimacy, funding or support in the public realm.

If the American constitution can ‘democratically’ grant preference and public legitimacy  to secularity  over religiosity, the government of a Jewish state can certainly ‘democratically ‘ grant preference and public legitimacy to the two-gender family over one gender couples with regard to adoption.